Saturday, November 17, 2007

Registration plates soon to be available in Braille for the visually impaired

Delhi has had as many as ten Transport Commissioners in the past six years and this has had a negative impact on implementation of various projects, particularly those which are not big in nature and require a committed and human approach from the authorities. A case in point is the installation of Braille registration plates in three-wheeler scooter rickshaws that has still not been done despite the Delhi Government giving its in-principle approval to the project.

The installation would have been of critical use for the visually impaired as it would allow them to know by the feel of hand the registration number of a hired auto-rickshaw and pass it on to some friend or acquaintance for personal security. But despite the project not being expensive as each plate costs barely Rs.15, it has not taken off due to bureaucratic red tape.

This has prompted Samarthya National Centre for Promotion of Barrier Free Environment for Disabled Persons, which has been working to promote “Mobility for All” for persons with reduced mobility and disability, to once again approach the Commissioner Transport, this time D. M. Spolia, to demand speedy implementation of the project.

In his letter, Samarthya founder and project director Sanjeev Sachdeva has stated that following the consent of Delhi Transport Minister Haroon Yusuf the organisation had proposed installation of Braille plates of auto registration number on all auto-rickshaws for the benefit of persons with low vision and vision impairment, including senior citizens.

“These Braille plates will help people lead an independent life and make travel safer for them,” he wrote, adding that “in this regard, meetings and discussions were held with your predecessors Mr. Vijay Madan and Mr. Chandra Mohan as also with Mr. Virendra Kumar, Joint Commissioner.”
Mr. Sachdeva has expressed regret over non-implementation of the scheme and stated that he was made to understand that the State Transport Authority had decided to place the Braille registration plates in the auto-rickshaws in the groove near the entrance and to include the same in the permit conditions for the autos.

Referring to a letter sent to him on February 13 this year by Assistant Director (Operations) A. K. Srivastava, the Samarthya founder wrote that the letter had clearly stated that the Delhi Government has “in principle approved of the proposal for introduction of the Braille manuscript registration plates and it has been decided that this could be made as one of the permit conditions for the auto-rickshaws”.

Lamenting the delay in the matter, Mr. Sachdeva said what needs to be realised is that the visually impaired have to put up with a daily struggle while commuting and hoped that the Delhi Government would speedily implement this scheme and not allow change in posts to affect its enactment.


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